Archive for May 2010
Last week I gave 8 talks on the topic of content analytics over the course of 2 regional marketing events in Washington DC and Atlanta. Having given that many talks on related topics so frequently in such a short time period, I found myself locking in on a few key statistics and facts, and I was reminded of that fact as I read Craig Rhinehart’s most recent missive on his blog. In my talks last week I similarly made the point that the “save everything” ethos described by Craig is losing steam. Why? The cost of storage isn’t dropping as quickly as the information is being generated. Organizations are coming to the realization that it’s simply not cost effective to ‘throw storage’ at the problem. The statistic I found myself using repeatedly last week was cited in a recent Forrester blog posting
It’s no surprise that Forrester clients report their storage capacity requirements are growing 20% to 40% each year. Storage costs have grown to 17% of the IT hardware budget, up from 10% in 2007.
That jump from 10% to 17% is what I found myself repeating last week. Cost per GB is going down every year. But organizations keep on spending more and more of their budget on keeping stuff. Throwing more storage at the problem (and avoiding the cause) has simply led to increased costs across the board. Not the hallmark of an effective, long-term solution.
I went on vacation last week.* (side note — though I’ve embraced twitter, foursquare and other modern public media platforms, I’ve yet to embrace the idea of broadcasting to the world the fact that my house was completely empty and I was 1000 miles away to the world at large – call me old fashioned if you must).
I mention it not to gloat about how much fun I had with my kids, but to bring up what I did the day before I departed. Again, call me old fashioned, but I typically get my books not from amazon, a bookstore or via an iPad, but from a more cost effective source: the public library. Quaint, I know.
When I go to the library, I can’t go without a plan. I can’t simply browse the stacks to find a good book. Yes, the library is well organized (good classifications!). And each book has good information on the cover describing the contents (standard metadata!) like author and title. But that information exterior to the contents just is not effective in helping me quickly determining the value of a book relative to my needs. I prepare in advance by reading reviews of others – other people who’ve read the books and analyzed their value. Otherwise finding a good couple of books for my vacation is an overwhelming and frustrating task.
The same idea – expending effort to analyze the long-form text inside content – applies to the content inside your organization. In previous postings I’ve discussed the value of content assessment to your organization. And to execute content assessment you need to execute content analytics. Historic approaches to tackling the content assessment problem have focused on metadata exterior to a document – the title, the author, the dates. This is much like trying to find a library book just by browsing the stacks. Determining what content is necessary to your organization – what content is valuable, requires governance, is legally relevant – is virtually impossible simply by examining data exterior to your content.
Content analytics provides your organization the ability to determine the value of your content by interrogating the interior of those documents. Metadata on the outside of a document is only part of the story. What concepts are covered in the document? Does this document concern itself with a customer? A business partner? Does this document concern itself with a particular business activity?
All of these questions are difficult to answer without examining the text in a document but given the volume of information in your organization, it’s difficult to actually make these assessments on a large scale basis. In my next posting I’ll cover how content analytics can help to answer these valuation questions.